Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bandcamp Picks - Neurosis, Sea of Bones/Ramlord, Subrosa, Crowhurst

It shows how disconnected I am these days - I had no idea a Neurosis album was in the works for this year, let alone that it was already out. Fires Within Fires picks up where the band left off four years ago, their pioneering use of seething dynamics on full display, snaking riffs giving way to oppressive fury and vice versa. Neurosis will probably never recapture the claustrophobic intensity of Through Silver in Blood (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and still regarded as the band's high water mark), but with everything they've accomplished, it's reassuring to know that one of the most important bands in heavy music still has this kind of fire. [$8]

It would be impossible to overstate the influence Neurosis has had on metal - certainly a band like Sea of Bones wouldn't be here without them. On their recent split with Ramlord, the trio utilize slab heavy riffs, a multiple vocalist attack, and the occasional noise ambient interlude - all the hallmarks of dedicated Neurosis worship. Meanwhile, New Hampshire's Ramlord base their blackened doom racket around some Hellhammer/Celtic Frost minimalism. Two bands unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeve(less jackets). [$2]

Salt Lake City's Subrosa also sprung from the well that Neurosis dug, specializing in the same kind of loud/soft interplay. With its forlorn strings, heavy riffs, and the triple vocal assault of Rebecca Vernon, Sarah Pendleton, and Kim Pack, For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages is akin to a more metal version of frequent Neurosis collaborators Amber Asylum. With four of six songs stretching past the 10 minute mark, this is a master's class in both "tension" and "release".  [$8.99 CAD]

Anyone who likes their music atmospheric and filthy will get their fill of both with LA's Crowhurst. Simply titled II, their second album takes Unsane's skronking heft into sludgy depths, then combines the whole thing with discordant black metal and some truly unpleasant psychedelia. A bouillabaisse of mind-rotting heaviness - combine with mind altering substances at your own risk. [$5]